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chris phillips -
Subject: Stephen's, Eleven's, Other One's and Love Light's
Grateful Dead winter of '69 is quintessential.
The Avalon shows are up there with the Fillmore shows for psychedelia.
I am partial to 1970 Dark Star's and 1968 Alligator's.
Subject: Terrific show,
early mix problems notwithstanding. The Other One thru Death Don't is some of the finest Dead you'll ever hear. I think the main good thing about the Eleven -> Lovelight is that it fit on an album, but it isn't any better than a hundred from '69 or '68.
You can take your old copy of Live/Dead out for a game of ultimate frisbee after gaining access to Charlie Miller's remaster of this legendary show; this Avalon run did have a lot of mixing problems on the masters; thankfully, this one is preserved wonderfully. The Other One suite is, unfortunately, a tough go and is best left out; given the myriad of other jaw-dropping, crystalline performances of this epic in '69, you can afford to start this one at Clementine.
Clementine > Death Don't is absolutely mesmerizing. We can talk a lot about the DS > Lovelight suite here, sure, but check the patience, texture, and beauty with which Clementine comes to life - soooo sad they didn't play this one more often - T.C. is, yes, high in the mix but I find that wonderful - he wasn't as good a player as Brent in terms of range, but was a vast improvement over Pigpen while in the band.
You're going to find Eleven > Lovelight a vastly different experience from Live/Dead - this one is raw, stripped of overdubs and 'fixes', left in all its ragged glory - the absolutely invisible transition between the tunes is among my most treasured of Dead moments; I think the sheer number of times I've listened to Live/Dead over these long years accounts for a lot of that!
Lovelight. Often I keep Pigpen's opus at arm's length - it's really a celebratory song and you have to be absolutely in the right frame of mind to really let this one get down and grab hold of your heart - with this version its simply impossible to stray from the commanding energy the band harnesses. There is nothing left to doubt as to what the Grateful Dead were about and were trying to be during the final surge to the finish - its eternal, final, perfect, the breathing embodiment of the extreme top crest of that psychedelic wave everyone was riding on in those days.
...and leave it on, indeed!
ps. That's Phil on the famous "take your hands out of your pockets" aside during Pigpen's rap, right? What a card.
Charlie Miller is as legendary as The Dead themselves. thank you... thank you...
Subject: Love that Clementine!
The OO Suite is a bit ragged but everything from Clementine on is pure gold.
To me, this is really the culmination of this great era of the band which really began with the Jan '68 tour and ended in the summer of '69. Probably their loudest, heaviest, most psychedelic period. Most of us were weaned on Live Dead and its great to hear the songs in context of the shows. Its almost like they nailed the template of what they were trying to achieve and knew it was time to change. I don't think they ever topped Live Dead as a single musical statemnt. Of course they changed so much over their history, comparisons are tough and its all a matter of taste anyway.
This is a nice upgrade. The emotional punch of Death Dont is staggering. Jerry can really play the blues. The whole second set is awesome. I can only imagine what it would have been like to witness this in person and in such a cool venue too. 4 only because of the mix issues.
egg whyte -
Subject: Almost All Great
This recording is much better than the previous night's, and the performance does not have nearly as many "lows" as the other two January Avalon dates posted here, however I still don't think that this qualifies as a great show. For one thing, its a little short (as many of the Avalon shows are). On top of the length, this performance of Dark Star is fairly pedestrian and St. Stephen is run of the mill for this time period (although run of the mill here is miles ahead of later versions). HOWEVER, Clementine and Death Don't Have No Mercy are fantastic (I don't know if the weird notes in the middle of Clementine are intentional or just another instance of the band's instruments flying out of tune, but it works this time), The Eleven is amazing and Lovelight is good fun to end it.
all three of these show are great, the fresh transfer is awesome! thank you infinitely!
this is most complete clementine!
intro 00.00 > 01.20
verse 1 1.20 > 02.25
volume swell interlude 02.25 >3.25
vamp on intro 03.25 > 04.24
verse 2 attempt 04.24 > 04.46
"recovery" jam 04.46 > 05.40
verse 2? again 05.40 > 06.14
riff section with jam 06.14 > 06.47
jam 06.47 > 7.50
riff recap (phil led) 07.50 > 08.16
jam like the intro vamp* 08.16 > 10.46
dissolving point 10.46 > 10.56
* alot could be said here, TC has some great arpeggios, right before the ten min mark there is a great apex with awesome layers.